Policy Redesign Project

All policies and procedures are being reviewed as part of this project. This document is pending review, but remains in effect until the review is carried out.

Work Health and Safety Risk Management Policy


Council, 27 August 2013

Last Amended: Council, 9 March and 25 May 2017
Nature of Amendment: Consequential to the repeal of statutes
Date Last Reviewed: May 2017
Responsible Officer: Director, People and Culture

Table of Contents

1. Purpose
2. Policy
3. Definitions
4. Scope
5. Responsibilities
6. Risk Management

6.1 Hazard identification
6.2 Risk Assessment
6.3 Risk Control
6.4 Evaluation, Monitoring and Review

7. Consultation
8. Records
9. Training
10. Legal & Policy Framework
11. Related Documents
12. Review


1. Purpose

1.1  This document outlines the approach taken by Flinders University for the
identification, assessment and control of work health and safety hazards and their associated risks in accordance with legislative requirements and the University's Work Health and Safety Policy.


2. Policy

2.1  The University requires that health and safety risks are

  • eliminated so far as is reasonably practicable, or if it is not possible to do so, that the risks are minimized so far as is reasonably practicable;
  • managed in accordance with the principles and standards outlined in this policy.

2.2  The University has adopted the principles of risk management as stated in Australian Standard AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk Management - Principles and guidelines with particular reference to work health and safety.

2.3  Where there are known hazards related to research, teaching or operational activities, no such activities will be undertaken unless a risk assessment of the work is completed and the relevant authorising officer, as specified in 6.2.2 of this policy, is satisfied that all foreseeable risks associated with the activity or work are eliminated as far as is reasonably practicable, or controlled using the hierarchy of controls.


3. Definitions

3.1  For the purpose of this policy the following definitions apply:

Hazard A situation or thing which has the potential to harm a person.
Risk The likelihood that the hazard will cause injury, illness or disease, and the severity of the injury, illness or disease that may result.
Risk Assessment The process of evaluating the likelihood and consequences (or severity) of injury, illness or disease arising from exposure to an identified hazard(s).
Risk Control The process of implementing measures to eliminate or minimise the risk associated with a hazard so far as is reasonably practicable.
Hierarchy of Risk Control The priority order for the types of measures to be used to control risks.
Plant Any machinery, equipment, appliance, implement or tool, and any associated component, fitting, connection, mounting or accessory used in the workplace. It does not include equipment that is both hand held and hand powered.
Worker A person who carries out work in any capacity for the University including academic and professional staff, contractors and sub-contractors and their workers, labour hire company employees, trainees, persons gaining work experience and volunteers.
Student A person who has an active enrolment status in a course of study at the University in accordance with the University's policies on enrolment.
Workplace A place where work, study or research is carried out for the University and includes any place where a worker goes, or is likely to be, while working, studying or undertaking research.
Hazardous chemicals Substances, mixtures and articles which are defined as hazardous chemicals under WHS Regulations, and dangerous goods and controlled substances.


4. Scope

4.1  This policy applies to all workers, students and visitors at all workplaces owned, managed or controlled by Flinders University and at any place where work is performed by a worker on behalf of the University.


5. Responsibilities

University Council Oversees and monitors systems of control and accountability and the assessment and management of work health and safety risks across the University.
Vice-Chancellor Responsible for ensuring that the University meets its legislative responsibilities for the management of work health and safety risks.
Senior executives
(Vice-Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Pro Vice-Chancellors, Vice-President, Executive Deans)

Responsible for ensuring that

  • systems and procedures for risk management are implemented in their Faculty/Portfolio including:
    • establishment of a systematic process for the regular review and register of hazards and their associated risks within work areas;
    • ensuring that as far as is reasonably practicable, workers and their health and safety representatives are consulted during the risk management process;
    • ensuring that workers, students and visitors are aware of their responsibilities and are provided with adequate information, training and instruction; and
  • there are adequate resources for effective risk management, including implementation of control measures, in their Faculty/Portfolio.
Managers and Supervisors

Responsible for ensuring that

  • hazards in work, study and/or research in their areas of responsibility are identified, risk assessed and risks are controlled, and that risk control measures are documented, monitored regularly, reviewed and maintained;
  • workers and their health and safety representatives are consulted at each step of the risk management process;
  • staff and students they supervise are fully informed about hazards associated with activities being carried out, are trained adequately, are instructed in control measures and safe working procedures and are supervised appropriately;
  • contractors/sub-contractors and their workers are provided with information about known hazards of the environment in which they will work to enable them to determine an appropriate safe system of work; and
  • volunteers and visitors receive appropriate information about any hazards and control measures.
Staff and Students

Responsible for

  • assisting with the identification of hazards, the assessment of risks and implementation of risk control measures;
  • reporting any incident, accident or hazard in the workplace to their manager or supervisor; and
  • using the required control measures, working safely and not putting themselves or others at risk of injury.
Contractors, sub-contractors and their workers Contractors, sub-contractors and their workers are responsible for taking appropriate steps to identify hazards, risk assess them and implement risk control measures for all reasonably foreseeable hazards arising from, or in the vicinity of, the works which may affect the health or safety of staff or other people at the workplace, and for informing the University staff member who engaged them of those hazards and planned risk control measures.


6. Risk Management

Work health and safety risk management involves hazard identification, risk assessment, implementation of appropriate risk control measures and monitoring and review of their effectiveness.

6.1 Hazard identification

6.1.1  A formal hazard identification process must be undertaken for all activities at the University where there is a potential for health and safety risks, including:
  • when planning work processes;
  • when planning events and other activities;
  • before setting up and using a workplace;
  • when planning changes to the workplace, eg new buildings, alterations to existing buildings, renovations, maintenance, repairs and minor modifications;
  • when designing and manufacturing plant or equipment;
  • before purchasing, hiring, leasing, commissioning or erecting plant or equipment;
  • before making, using and disposing of hazardous chemicals;
  • before selling or disposing of plant and equipment;
  • whenever new information becomes available regarding work processes, plant and equipment, and hazardous chemicals;
  • when responding to workplace incidents (even if they have caused no injury);
  • when responding to concerns raised by workers, health and safety representatives and others at the workplace; and
  • whenever changes are made to the workplace, system or method of work, plant and hazardous chemicals used.

6.1.2  All identified hazards must be recorded on the Faculty/Portfolio Work Health and Safety Risk Register (for general hazards), Plant Register (for all Plant) or Hazardous Chemicals Register (for hazardous chemicals, dangerous goods and/or controlled substances).

6.1.3 Faculties/Portfolios must implement systems for identifying hazards, including regular workplace inspections, accident/incident reporting and investigation.

6.2 Risk Assessment

6.2.1  Assessment process
Once a hazard has been identified or reported, the following steps must be used to assess health and safety risk:

 Step C - Calculate the Risk Level

1. Take the Step A rating and select the correct line
2. Take the Step B rating and select the correct column
3. Circle the risk level where the two ratings cross in the matrix below
Risk level = ...........................


This risk assessment matrix is to be used as the University standard for WHS risk assessments, unless the University Health and Safety Committee approves a more appropriate risk assessment tool for particular circumstances.


 6.2.2 Prioritising Risks

Risk Level Priority  Action Timeframe for implementation of corrective action
Extreme  1  The activity should cease immediately and short term safety controls implemented.
Notify manager and assess activity.
A hazardous activity rated as extreme must not be undertaken until safety controls have been implemented, and reviewed and approved by the relevant Executive Dean, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Vice-President or the Vice-Chancellor.
High 2 Implement short term safety measures.
Notify manager and assess activity.
A hazardous activity rated as high must not be undertaken until safety controls have been implemented, and reviewed and approved by the relevant Dean of School/Divisional Head
Within 24 hours
Medium 3 Implement short term safety controls.
Notify manager and assess activity.
Within 14 days
Low 4 Implement long term safety controls.
Notify manager and assess activity.
Within 28 days (if possible) or demonstrate that it is not reasonably practicable to achieve further minimization of the risk

If an identified hazard does not meet legislative requirements, the use of the plant, hazardous chemical or work process must cease immediately, and be locked out (if necessary) until modifications have been implemented to make the plant, hazardous chemical or work practice legally compliant.


6.3 Risk Control

On the basis of the risk assessment, risks must be eliminated or, where that is not reasonably practicable, minimized using the Hierarchy of Risk Control.

6.3.1 Hierarchy of Risk Control

Preferred order Control  Example
 1 Eliminate the hazard(s) Remove the hazard eg remove noisy equipment
 2 Substitute the hazard with something safer Lift smaller packages, use a less toxic chemical, use different equipment, replace solvent-based paints with water-based ones.
 3 Isolate the hazard from people Place barriers around a spill until cleaned up, use a closed container, restrict access to plant, install guard rails around holes in floors.
 4 Reduce the risks through engineering controls Provide a trolley to move heavy loads, place guards and/or lock or devices on moving parts of machinery, install residual current devices (RCDs).
 5 Reduce exposure to the hazard using administrative controls Adopt safe work procedures (SWPs) and safe work practices, provide training, instruction or information, erect signs.
 6 Use personal protective equipment Use hearing and eye protection, hard hats, gloves, masks, safety footwear, aprons, sunscreen  Elimination is the first choice in controlling risks and is the most effective control measure. Where elimination of the hazard and associated risk is not practicable, substitution, isolation and engineering controls should be considered next.  Where plant guarding is to be used as a control measure, the guarding must comply with Australian Standard AS/NZS 4024 Safety of Machinery and should ensure the plant fails to a safe state.  Administrative controls and personal protective equipment should only be used:

  • when there are no other practical control measures available (ie as a last resort);
  • as an interim measure until a more effective way of controlling the hazard can be used; or
  • to supplement higher level control measures (ie as a back-up).  The cost of controlling a risk may be taken into account in determining what is reasonably practicable, but cannot be used as a reason for doing nothing.  When a decision is made to use lower level control options, reasons for not using higher levels of control must be documented and retained with the risk assessment.


6.4 Evaluation, Monitoring and Review

6.4.1  All control measures implemented, including temporary measures, must be assessed, monitored and reviewed to determine whether they are effective in controlling the risk. The review process must be documented and retained.
6.4.2  Control measures must be reviewed
  • when the control measure is not effective in controlling the risk;
  • before a change at the workplace that is likely to give rise to a new or different health and safety risk that the control measure may not control effectively;
  • if a new hazard or risk is identified; and
  • if a health and safety representative requests a review.

6.4.3  Hazardous chemicals and Plant risk assessments must be reviewed every 5 years.


7. Consultation

7.1  Throughout the risk management process managers and supervisors must consult, so far as is reasonably practicable, workers and Health & Safety Representatives in the work area and, where relevant, students and other persons (eg University controlled entities, tenants, co-tenants, landlords) who have a shared responsibility for work health and safety. Managers and supervisors must provide all relevant information on hazards, including plant and hazardous chemicals.


8. Records

8.1  Information collected from identifying hazards and assessing, controlling and reviewing risks must be recorded in the local area as follows:

  • Work Health and Safety Risk Register - for general hazards and associated risks
  • Plant Register - for all Plant
  • Hazardous Chemicals Register - for hazardous chemicals, dangerous goods and/or controlled substances.

8.2  The following information must be recorded and kept:

  • the identified hazards, assessed risks and chosen risk control measures;
  • how and when the risk control measures were implemented, monitored and reviewed;
  • who was consulted;
  • relevant training records; and
  • any plans for changes.

8.3  Each risk assessment must be documented, the risk assessment form signed by the manager or supervisor of the area and the hard copy retained. Risk assessments must be accessible to staff and students of the School/administrative unit and must be kept by the School/administrative unit for 5 years or until reviewed.


9. Training

9.1  Senior executives must ensure that managers and supervisors undertake training relevant to their health and safety responsibilities.

9.2  Managers and supervisors are responsible for ensuring that, before work, study or research begins, staff and students under their supervision, contractors, sub-contractors and their workers, volunteers and visitors have the information, instruction and training to perform their work, study or research in a safe manner and without risks to health and safety. This includes ensuring that staff, students, contractors, sub-contractors and their workers, volunteers and visitors:

  • follow safe work procedures and/or safe work practices;
  • use risk controls that are in place; and
  • have an appreciation of the nature of any hazards, the risks associated with them, and the reason why risk controls are used.

9.3  Training and competency requirements must be identified and recorded on a training matrix.


10. Legal & Policy Framework

South Australia


Northern Territory

Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Act 2011
Work Health and Safety (National Uniform Legislation) Regulations
Code of Practice: How to manage work health and safety risks


Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004
Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007

Flinders University Work Health and Safety Policy (PDF) which applies regardless of location.

AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk Management - Principles and guidelines


11. Related Documents

11.1  This Policy should be read in conjunction with the University's Work Health and Safety Risk Management - Making your Workplace Safer guidelines.


12. Review

12.1  The policy is reviewed at least every 4 years to ensure it remains effective, relevant and appropriate to the University, and reflects current legislative requirements.